With three days left on his second 10-day contract Mamadi Diakite, and the Oklahoma City Thunder organization, are coming to a crossroads.
NBA teams can sign a player to two 10-day contracts per season, and with Diakite’s second contract coming to a close on Jan. 31 the Thunder have a decision to make — sign him for the rest of the season or let him walk out the door.
Diakite is in his second season. He spent last season as a part-time player with the Milwaukee Bucks, featuring in 14 games with one start for the eventual champions.
For the Thunder thus far he has seven games, averaging 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game.
At 6-foot-9 Diakite presents an interesting skillset, particularly on defense — one that the Thunder don't currently have elsewhere.
The challenge thus far for coach Mark Daigneault getting him game time is the backlog OKC has at the center position.
Diakite has played 91% of his minutes with the Thunder at the center spot, but with rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Derrick Favors and Mike Muscala all taking up minutes at the spot it can be difficult for someone on a 10-day contract to see floor time.
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With Favors currently injured and Muscala coming back from an injury of his own this is a make or break moment for whether or not Diakite fits with this Thunder roster and if this is his last week in OKC.
"(Diakite) is a guy that the organization likes," Daigneualt said.
“We (will) have no idea if he is a fit here if we don’t throw him out in a game. And sometimes you’re doing that at the expense of someone who you know is a fit here, and that’s Mike.”
The Thunder still have an open roster spot from the Miye Oni trade earlier this season, so There is a clear path for Diakite to stick around if the organization really does like him. That can be with a guaranteed contract or a two-way deal with Aaron Wiggins being a clear candidate to have his converted.
OKC has two games left before Diakite’s contract runs out, so it will be interesting to see if he is given an extended run before any decisions need to be made.